Under the Big, Mining Sky

In “Under Montana’s Big Sky”, Diamond writes about many of the environmental problems that the Bitterroot valley faces which many, if not all, of the problems have been caused by humankind. The main environmental problem would have to be the location the Bitterroot Valley itself. The valley is not well suited for growing many crops and only has one season for growing crops a year. This caused many early Montanans to change the environment to whatever suited their needs. These early Montanans are what have caused many of the current environmental problems facing Montana today. Mining has made the biggest negative impact and continues to do so, Montana has the largest superfund site and numerous others which has been caused from unethical mining techniques. These two combined together continues to make Montana’s environment worse and worse because how poorly built early structures were and also how expensive it is to either fix or remove the structures or to all together clean the past mistakes.

The Bitterroot Valley, I believe offers great models to help explain and understand environmental issues throughout the world. Montana has had many different issues ranging from invasion of invasive species, decrease in water supply and quality, and forest fires. Like I said above the problems start with early Montanans molding and shaping the land to their individual needs, but present Montanans not agreeing with each other about how to move forward. What I mean by that is Montana’s love the idea of quality of life and being able to do what they want, but also not letting people do something that they don’t agree with. The example that Diamond provides in the reading about forest fires describe this really well. People want to keep the natural beauty of Montana but also demand that the Forest Services protect their homes.

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